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The Professional Service Firm Leader

Leading Clients, People & Work

Cambridge Judge Business School was the first leading business school in the UK to recognise that the unique challenges facing professional firms needed a specialised set of executive education programmes. Our professional service firm leader programme attracts a very wide range of senior professionals from a very wide range of firms.

The programme addresses some of the key issues facing leaders of professional firms today, including setting and executing strategy, what are the right leadership behaviours in a professional firm context, how to improve collaboration with your teams that you lead in the firm, thinking about culture and values and their importance, and also thinking about the challenges of needing to become more innovative in the face of an increasing pace of technological change.

The course is set up really well. It’s a compact course. Its content was really relevant to where we felt the challenges were as a firm.

I’ve already made quite a lot of notes about active ways in which I think I can make a difference with my teams and, indeed, my own contribution to the management team. So it’s already provided me with ideas about how to do things differently.

Over the last three days, we’ve done sessions on strategy, on thinking as teams, being effective leaders, and from each of those sessions, I’ve had furious notes and takeaways of what I can do to make sure that my team is running as efficiently and effectively as possible.

There’s a wonderful learning experience both in the classroom and out. I think the course has very much also given me a whole range of tools in terms of collaborating and sharing ideas.

Everyone on the course has also been very interesting, and it’s been very interesting hearing their contributions from their own businesses.

I would absolutely recommend it to my fellow colleagues. I’m going to have a hard time trying not to reteach it as we have meetings.

I will certainly be suggesting that my other colleagues who are on the executive committee should attend this course. I wish I’d come attended it five years ago.


The competitive pressures on partners, directors and principals of professional service firms have never been greater.

And as these pressures intensify further in the current economic climate, the temptation of many will be to focus on client-facing work rather than on the more challenging aspects of leadership and management.

How can you strategically differentiate and grow your practice? How can you nurture and develop your associates? How can you find the time to lead and manage your business and people effectively?

This programme will challenge you to explore the answers to these questions.

The approach

The Professional Service Firm Leader programme brings together leading business academics from the University of Cambridge with top consulting professionals with a wealth of experience in providing strategic, leadership and personal advice.

The result is a unique learning event which blends academic and practically based sessions to give you an in-depth understanding of the concepts of professional service firm management, coupled with the skills you need to apply those concepts in your daily working life.

It is our focus on implementation – in turning the concepts and research-based findings into specific actions that improve individual, practice and firm performance – that sets this programme apart. We recognise that firms from different sectors tend to face different issues in different ways at different times.


Programme content will cover key topics critical to the success of any professional service firm:

  • Integrated leadership and the motivational dynamics of professionals
  • Professional service firm strategies: practice segmentation; aligning the firm’s practices, people and resources
  • Leadership styles: becoming an effective role model, coach and mentor
  • Client service: making your client teams even more effective
  • Leadership and values: the power of personal example; 
  • Leading and sustaining change in the firm: what really effective firms do to stay at the top.


You’ll learn from outstanding faculty and associates of Cambridge Judge Business School and experienced practitioners where you will build a network with other professional service firm leaders from firms across Europe and elsewhere in the world. 

  • Understand the practical significance of the elements in the integrated leadership model – setting direction, commitment and execution
  • Understand the strategic execution process
  • Understand more about your own role as a leader
  • Develop an understanding of effective leadership and management of teams
  • Practical case studies to identify principles and reinforce the learning
  • Gain practical concepts and frameworks
  • Translate frameworks into day-day business responsibilities.

Who should attend

  • Professional service firm (PSF) leaders, directors and principals
  • Managing partners, members of partnership boards and other firm-wide management committees, practice area heads, industry sector heads, and those in line to take up such positions and responsibilities
  • Management consultants, accountants, lawyers, actuaries, engineers, architects, surveyors, physicians, public relations professionals, recruiters and others involved in professional practice.
The courses with Cambridge Judge Business School have given new perspectives to our senior people and we have seen a new understanding develop of the skills needed to manage and lead the business more effectively.
David Morley, Senior Partner, Allen & Overy

Programme Director

Matthew Jones

Fellow in Professional Services Leadership & Strategy

Academic Programme Director

Stella Pachidi

Assistant Professor in Information Systems

PhD (VU University Amsterdam)

Faculty & speakers

Shazhad (Shaz) Ansari

Professor of Strategy & Innovation

PhD (University of Cambridge)

Cath Bishop

Chair of Cambridge University’s Women’s Boat Club

As Chair of Cambridge University’s Women’s Boat Club, Cath enthuses students to wave their training oars defiantly in the face of a challenge. Fluent in five languages, few people are as well-equipped to inspire others all over the world and influence them to pursue higher goals.

Cath has a BA in modern languages from Pembroke College, Cambridge, a masters in international politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and a PhD in contemporary German literature from the University of Reading. Cath won medals at the World Championships twice, a silver in 1998 in the women’s pair with Dot Blackie, and gold in 2003, again in the pair, with Katherine Grainger. She won silver in the 2004 Olympic Games in the women’s pair with Grainger. In 1999 she was the World Indoor Rowing Champion. From 2001 through 2014 Bishop forged a career with the Foreign Office, for whom she worked in London; Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Basra Iraq. Her roles included: Politica, Projects and Press Officer at British Embassy, Sarajevo, from 2004; Political Adviser to the High Representative to Bosnia & Herzegovina from 2006; Head of the Political Section at the British Consulate in Basra from 2007; and Deputy Director of the Stabilisation Unit in London from 2009-2011.

Cath Bishop is a versatile speaker with key lessons for companies floundering in the rocky waters of business. Sharing practical strategies to help teams make a splash with exceptional results, Cath relays the need for clarity and honesty to achieve success. Delivering outstanding performance under extreme circumstances is Cath’s lifeblood – both from her gruelling Olympic training regime and through her struggle for survival as she sheltered from shelling on her diplomatic mission to Basra.

Cath returned from two Olympic games without a medal and decided that, after rigorous physical and psychological training, she had to unlock the secret to her non-success. In her search for new tactics, she ultimately adopted the well-documented ‘marginal gains’ attitude that saw her sail smoothly onto the podium. No stranger to tough situations, the decade Cath spent as a British diplomat in Bosnia and Iraq has equipped her with the highest level of strategy-building, resilience, and a determination to do her job in the face of danger and adversity. Both rowing and international diplomacy are effective analogies for interdependency and collaboration in business. In a unique amalgamation of her diverse experiences, Cath deftly relates genuine insights into setbacks and how to respond to them.

Benn Lawson

Associate Professor in Operations Management

PhD (University of Melbourne)

Lionel Paolella

Associate Professor in Strategy & Organisation

PhD (HEC Paris)

Mark de Rond

Professor of Organisational Ethnography

DPhil (University of Oxford)

Thomas Roulet

Associate Professor in Organisation Theory

PhD (HEC Paris)

Mark Smith

Senior Advisor

MSc (Henley Business School)

Philip Stiles

Associate Professor in Corporate Governance

PhD (University of London)

Dates & fees



Fees *

15-19 May 2022

Sun eve-Thurs afternoon

£6,325 + VAT

4-8 December 2022

Sun eve-Thurs afternoon

£6,325 + VAT

VAT is charged at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%; e.g. £5,720 + 20% = £6,864. Please note that the fee for the 2022 programmes is £6,325 + VAT.

* Fees include instruction, materials, welcome dinner at Cambridge Judge Business School, two college dinners and daytime catering. Preferential rates may be available for University of Cambridge alumni and members of the School’s Alumni Association. Please note prices pre-registration are subject to change.

Four nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night) is provided as part of the programme fee.

For information regarding payment terms, cancellation rights, transfer policies and fees, please see our terms & conditions documents:

Terms & Conditions for Self-funded Applicants (pdf, 277KB) (updated 25 August 2021)
Terms & Conditions for Organisation-funded Applicants (pdf, 295KB) (updated 25 August 2021)

Registration closes at midday two working days before the programme start date.

Participants are expected to attend the full programme.

Please ensure that you have read our Frequently Asked Questions, which provide important additional information about our face-to-face and Live Online programmes, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about this programme and how it could benefit you or your organisation, please get in touch with the programme advisor:

Stacey Clifford

Client Relationship Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1223 339605

[email protected]

Access Stacey's profile

Request a call back

Stacey Clifford

Version 8 (9 August 2021)


Professional Service Firms


5 days


15-19 May 2022
4-8 December 2022

Book a place

Download a brochure

To find out more about our range of open enrolment programmes, download our brochure.

Download the brochure